Bill Maher etc beware — Rob Ford says “Once I’m done, I’m done. I’m going to California ……”

May 1st, 2014 | By L. Frank Bunting | Category: USA Today

Rob Ford holds a pipe in a still image given to the Globe and Mail and Gawker.com. The people who made the video are reportedly trying to sell it for a six-figure price. (Gawker.com).

On the last day of April, 2014, I arrived home from an evening meeting downtown just before 10 PM. And my live-in business manager (and resident beauty queen) immediately told me : “More tapes about Rob Ford have just come out, and he’s taking a leave of absence to get help.”

I caught up with the flow of events on cp24 as quickly as I could — while also finally noting that the Raptors beat Brooklyn 115–113, and the Blue Jays went down to Kansas City 4–2. If you’re living on Mars yourself (well … really, that is, if you don’t live somewhere in the Greater Toronto Area), and still want a quick synopsis, here is the bare-bones kit I’d recommend :

* An introductory Canadian Press report on the cp24 site, “Ford takes leave to seek help for substance abuse.”

* Two excellent reports from the CBC News site : “Rob Ford, Toronto mayor, allegedly makes more lewd comments on tape … WARNING: This story contains graphic language that some readers may find offensive”; and “Rob Ford taking leave of absence, seeking help for substance abuse … Toronto Sun, Globe and Mail claim to have new, separate recordings of Ford.”

* The Toronto Sun report “Mayor Rob Ford ‘ready to take a break‘”, which includes at least some of a “new raunchy audio recording of Ford ranting and swearing in an Etobicoke bar” recently, “exclusively obtained” by the Sun ; and the Globe and Mail report headlined “Rob Ford takes leave as recent drug video emerges,” which begins : “A second video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking what has been described as crack cocaine by a self-professed drug dealer was secretly filmed in his sister’s basement early Saturday morning.”

* The short but poignant “Rob Ford’s statement on leave of absence,” released by the mayor himself “shortly before 11 PM. ET.”

* * * *

Rob Ford makes a mad dash for the back door, after his return home with staff and family. Tony Smyth @LateNightCam.

Of course, there are many fascinating things about all this, as usual — which is why I am still up at 2:30 AM on May 1, 2014. But here is my very quick reaction, just in case anyone else is interested (and mostly because to find out what I think myself I have to write it down):

(1) Whatever else Rob Ford may or may not go down in the history books for, stunningly naive and gross stupidity has to be one major thing. On the Toronto Sun’s audio tape, it seems clear enough, from certain provocative questions being asked, that someone is trying to set the mayor of not-all-the-people up. And then there is the Globe and Mail video “secretly filmed in his sister’s basement early Saturday morning” by a “self-professed drug dealer” !!!!  Even granting that the mayor was in one of his now clearly still-recurrent drunken stupors on both occasions, how can he have let all this happen? (And, no doubt, even being very cunningly Machiavellian about everything, what does it say about his suitability for high public office that he has?)

(2) As the second of the two CBC reports mentioned above notes : “Ford does not plan to drop out of the election, according to his lawyer, Dennis Morris who spoke to CBC News earlier in the evening … Morris described the move as ‘an opportunity to step back, take a breath and get help’ for substance abuse.”  And, of course, of course, if Rob Ford actually does win the Toronto mayoral election this coming October 27, 2014, that really will be an utterly astonishing and unprecedented event in the history of the city, and perhaps even the wider global village (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, etc).

(3) Even so, you still can’t altogether dismiss the prospect of Rob Ford’s winning again on October 27, because when you really dig into the evidence this time (as on other occasions), it doesn’t exactly seem all that bad. (At least once you forget that this guy actually is supposed to be the mayor of the city!)  Take, eg, the Toronto Sun audio tape (as noted above) which I have now listened to myself. As the CBC notes : “The tape is choppy and many of the comments are indiscernible or cut off by others in the group.” When I listen to what’s going on, I am bound to think “Who hasn’t been involved in this kind of robust discussion about politics in a bar? And even said some equally stupid things … maybe? (And what the mayor said about his  fellow councillor and current mayoral contest rival Karen Stintz, eg, could — from the standpoint of his own twisted standards of arch-masculinity etc — be regarded as quite flattering. Even if — I hasten to add I do agree — it IS quite inappropriate for the mayor of any city to be saying such things about a female colleague, even to his alleged drinking buddies at a private-sector bar.)

(4) On the other hand, if Rob Ford does finally lose this coming October 27 (as should happen, if there is any remotely fair God of Municipal Politics in Canada, etc), Bill Maher and others in Greater Los Angeles who have said a few nice things about the current Toronto mayor should watch out. Rob’s own thought on this prospect, as reported on the Toronto Sun audio tape, is “Once I’m done, I’m done. I’m going to California.” Moreover, in the written statement he released just before 11 PM last night, His Alleged Worship said : “I love the people of Toronto, I love being your mayor and I hope you will continue to stand by me.” But if Rob Ford really loved the people of Toronto, he wouldn’t also be saying that if he loses the Toronto election this fall, he’s going to California. (As sensible a proposition as that may seem to many other Toronto citizens today!)

Anyway, on to the Ontario Budget, later this afternoon. (And the big Ford Nation news here is that Rob will apparently not be voting Conservative in any Ontario election that may or may not happen soon. If you really want to know why, you’ll have to either listen to this Toronto Sun audio, or read this CBC News report. Anything else I might do would just be adding to the already long enough gravy train.)

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